As my 70th Birthday approached I found myself having to come to terms
with reality. Iím very good at fooling myself. Most of people are.
I once fooled myself into thinking I was a body builder This was when
I was younger. I went into the gym with the big guys. I lifted weights
and I used the machines and so forth. The net effect, was stronger arms
and legs. The other effect was that I went up a bra size, not in front,
from the muscle development in my back. I also gave myself a knee injury
from which Iím still recovering, (Donít try to press more weight than
you reasonably can and expect your bent knees to hold. Ooops!)
My other self delusion was that I could do Martial Arts. I claim that
I got my Ďpinkí belt. Actually, it was white, the lowest rank and I never
got any higher. I canít remember dance moves or Tae Kwon Do moves or Tai
Chi or anything like that. I donít have visual memory. I canít see pictures
in my head. If you canít do that, then you donít have the necessary map
in your head, needed to do a chain of movements, and youíre sunk!
To digress a bit, in computer war games you need to map. There are vast
terrains and missions over them and so forth. I am heavily dependent on
the online Wiki database that exists for my game, Guild Wars. For Missions
I depend on PUGs (Player User Groups) which join together, however briefly,
to do a Mission and then disperse. I carry my weight, Iím a good fighter.
I just canít map.
Back to reality, it doesnít matter how much makeup I slather on, or whether
I go to the hairdresser or whatever. Iím still seventy years plus. When
I went to the hairdresser last we got to talking so she just kept fussing.
When she was almost done she picked up the curling iron and, because I
was a *sigh* Senior Citizen she made little tight curls all over my head.
My hair is getting rather thin and is quite white. This was interesting,
not my normal style but there you go. Then, I went to a reception for
volunteers at jazz.fm and my friend, Danny Marks, hauled me up on stage
where I did a rousing version of Midnight Special. I rocked the house.
The spotlight on those tight curls and sparse white hair made me look
BALD in the resulting photographs. Oh well, Iím still 70 and counting,
so thatís par for the course.
Another thing that does not improve with age is short term memory.If I
need to do a bunch of things such as the list below:
Buy a table
Send a Get Well card over the Internet
Add items to grocery list
Tell Don I canít make it to the computer Beer Bash this time
Make egg salad for sandwiches
I get stuck on Ďbuy a table over the Internetí to the detriment of all
the other items listed. Then, another item will pop up at random, so Iíll
do that and worry vaguely that there was something else I needed to do.
Bit by bit. most of the items surface, triggered by who knows what, until,
with luck, I get most done. Sure, you say, write it down. Well, I do.
By the time Iíve got to items 3 and 4 Iíve forgotten 5. It will surface
later when I get hungry enough to remember I meant to make egg salad sandwiches.
You can only deal with this fragility of short term memory philosophically.
Remember what you can and let the rest go hang. Some charitable researcher
said that this weakness comes from having too much information in our
heads. Too bad you canít do head cleaning the way you can do house cleaning.
In my family we look about 10 or 15 years younger than we are, until one
day the boom descends, and we suddenly look older. People donít realize
that I am at my attained age of 70 plus. Itís about time, however, that
I started realizing it. Iíve started looking at older faces with a more
discerning eye, looking for the beauty that is there, if you look for
it. We are so predicated in this society on youth, on idolizing youth,
but one day thatís all gone and it ainít cominí back. I had to revise
my self image, which was permanently set at about age 45. That was a reset
from many years when it was permanently set as a 16 year old boy. I was
a tomboy when I was a kid. Took me a while to grow out of that too.
So, I was permanently set at age 45. Well, Iím not 45 It was hard to give
that up. I had a bout of depression and then I decided ďThereís not a
darn thing I can do about itĒ. I had to accept something that I could
not change and that wasnít easy. It was a real reality check.
Here I am and, apparently, Iím going strong. Things that used to interest
me no longer interest me as much. Iím not as competitive. I take up some
new things. Iím still growing plants and reading and knitting and sewing
a bit. I go out every 6 weeks to my computer guys beer bash with other
old geeks and demi-geeks like myself. We sit around and talk about whatís
wrong with Microsoft and why we may or may not like Linux and so forth.
There are a few other social outings too. Itís a good life that I have.
Iím very lucky to be alive and reasonably well, even if Iím aging.